In Set It Up, Netflix’s wonderful new rom com, put-upon assistants Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) decide to set up their bosses, played deliciously by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs, because they figure that if their bosses are getting some then maybe they themselves can finally get a break from work and have a life! And inevitably, the more time they spend getting their bosses to fall in love, the closer they get.
It might seem odd but one of the greatest things about Set It Up is that the romance is not something simply happening to one character. Thanks to Katie Silberman’s superb script, the four central characters are so brilliantly developed that you’re invested from the get-go. These fierce and complex characters (both male and female – who knew?) are layered and mess up yet they are ultimately interesting and worth investing your time in.
Though the ‘goal’ (as with any rom com) is that these people will find happiness with each other and get the guy/girl, there is enough actual depth, via the characters’ career aspirations and passions, that the romantic goal is not the only thing going on. And with that, the film finds its greatest strength. It acknowledges that while we may all want to be loved, sometimes it’s better to be happy with yourself first. (And sometimes, being alone is better than being in the wrong relationship.)
The film is fun and endearing and feels like both a throwback to the beloved rom coms of the 90s and something new, fresh and exciting. (There’s even a brilliant Third Eye Blind gag in there that will surely appeal to the 80s babies who fell for the magic of rom coms in their teens.)
Complete with excellent best friend roles from Pete Davidson and Meredith Hagner, superb one-liners and a mix of actual moral dilemmas and light relief, Set It Up is a real treat for fans of the classic rom com and perhaps those brave enough to try out the genre for the first time.
Perhaps it’s fitting that director Claire Scanlon directed this feature while heavily pregnant. Because the women here are very much about just getting sh*t done.